When You're Mine (The Gallaghers) by Layla Hagen

Tess grinned. “I’d get mad at you, brother, but you’re right.”

All the Winchesters were married or engaged, and Tess loved helping with planning. Out of the whole group, Ian and I were the only bachelors left, something she kept teasing us about.

“Okay, well, I tried to bring as much stuff in the living room as possible. I say we start by putting what’s on the floor in boxes and labeling them accordingly,” Isabelle said.

Ryker looked around. “Okay, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff in this room, so I’m going to need detailed instructions.”

“You can start by actually putting together the boxes. I only had time to build two,” Isabelle said.

“I’m on it,” Ryker said.

“Thanks so much for coming. I know you’re all busy,” Isabelle added, and it was true. Ryker worked on Wall Street, Cole ran a real estate company with Josie’s husband, and Tess owned two lingerie stores with her sister Skye.

“Hey, family comes first,” Tess said. “By the way, is Josie coming too?”

“Yes. She texted that she’ll be here in half an hour,” Isabelle said.

Isabelle divided tasks among each of us. Ryker gave everyone a box, and we started shoving the stuff lying around in it.

Josie arrived a while later.

“Hey, why didn’t you bring my niece?” Isabelle said with a pout.

“She’s spending some quality time with her dad. And I’m much faster when she’s not with me.” Josie looked around, grimacing. She was a brilliant lawyer and an organizational genius.

Isabelle pointed at her. “Hey! It’s a process. Don’t judge.”

Josie laughed, holding her hands up in defense. “I didn’t say anything. I’m going to grab a box and see how far I can get tonight.”

Two hours later, the living room looked livable again.

“Are you taking the furniture too?” I asked, looking up and down at a huge bookshelf, already mentally disassembling it. Ian and I had helped Isabelle with the furniture when she moved from Montana to Philly for college and later to New York.

“No, everything stays here. We’re renting it out fully furnished. By the way, can everyone stay for dinner?”

There was a chorus of yeses, and then Isabelle ordered pizza for everyone. I went to her kitchen to uncork a bottle of wine and smiled when I heard someone trail after me. I was betting it was Isabelle.

“Dylan, can we talk?” Isabelle asked.

“Is this the lecture?”

“How did you know?” she replied, sounding perplexed.

I turned around, grinning. “You walk the way you used to when you were trying to sneak out of the house without our parents hearing you.”

“Ah, the guilty walk,” Josie said from the living room. She’d clearly eavesdropped on us.

I nodded. “Exactly.”

Isabelle laughed. “Well, you’ve got it all wrong. I’m not feeling guilty at all. I was just coming to....”

“Lecture me for checking out Melanie at the gym?” I asked point-blank.

Isabelle’s jaw dropped. “Yes. How did you know?”

I pointed at my eyes, then at hers. “You looked at me like you wanted to skewer me today.”

Isabelle put her hands on her hips, tilting her head. “Okay, you caught me.”

“Wait a second,” Ian said, “you’re warning him off? You usually try to sell him on relationships.”

“Yes, but I failed, so I’m switching tactics. Mel wants a relationship and everything that comes with it. And you don't. You keep saying you've sworn off all that. Or has that changed?"

"No, it hasn’t," I said dryly.

“See? That’s exactly my point.”

Ian whistled loudly. “I think he got it, sis.”

“I’m not so sure. He didn’t say anything,” Ryker pointed out.

“Oh yeah. Look at his smile. There’s a bit of guilt right there,” Josie said. “He’s planning to ignore the warning.”

I shot Josie a look.

“Aha!” she said. “See. Isabelle, I think you’re going about this the wrong way. Telling him someone’s off-limits is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

“Can we change the subject?” I said, laughing at the insane turn this conversation was taking.

Cole shrugged. “Just saying, Ryker and I were singing a similar tune not too long ago about liking our bachelor status. Things can change fast. Keep an open mind.”